Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Poll Analyses
Share on Facebook 58 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
Sci Tech    H4'ed 3/30/19

Daily Inspiration — I led two lives

Author 2756
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Josh Mitteldorf
Become a Fan
  (52 fans)

Carl Zimmer has written about the prevalence of metamorphism in the animal world much more common than I had ever imagined.


(Image by Carl Zimmer)   Details   DMCA

He writes about the work of Hanna ten Brink in the Netherlands, which begins from the conservative framework of most evolutionary biologists today, the selfish gene ideology. She starts from the premise that animals maximize their individual fitness, meaning they try to reproduce as much as possible. Her conclusion, then, is that animal species can eat more total food if they have access to two different ecological niches.

...animals pay a steep price to go through metamorphosis. They burn a lot of calories to tear apart the old anatomy and develop a new one. There's a chance that this complicated process will go awry, leaving them with defects.

Metamorphosis also takes time, leaving animals vulnerable to predators and parasites. In many cases, Dr. ten Brink and her colleagues found, the cost of metamorphosis is too high for it to be favored by natural selection.

"You have to get back something really good," she said.

In my reearch, I have been skeptical of the selfish gene ideology, and I have promoted the radical thinking of Lynn Margulis. I think Lynn is correct that the way metamorphosis evolves is not by one species reaching out into two niches, but by two entirely different species merging their genomesperhaps hard to imagine on its face, but Lynn cites a "paper trail" from the genome.

And what is the fitness payoff for the merger? My theory is that it solves an ecological problem. Adults are much larger, stronger, more experienced and more robust than their offspring. It is hard for the young to grow up if to do so they must compete with larger and stronger versions of themselves. Metamorphosis is a way to take the young out of competition with their elders, who have an unfair advantage. It is thus about preserving the species, not the individual.

 

Well Said 1   Interesting 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Josh Mitteldorf Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Josh Mitteldorf, a senior editor at OpEdNews, blogs on aging at http://JoshMitteldorf.ScienceBlog.com. Read how to stay young at http://AgingAdvice.org.
Educated to be an astrophysicist, he has branched out from there to mathematical (more...)
 

Related Topic(s): , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Twitter Bans The Donald

Cold Fusion: Tangible Hope in an Age of Despair

Artificial Earthquakes

New Scientific Study: Smoking Gun Evidence of 9/11 Explosives in WTC Dust

PayPal cuts off Bradley Manning Legal Defense; Backs Off under Grass Roots Pressure

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: